Sunday, November 28, 2010

ABCs of useful tools

In Neil Cole's book Organic Leadership, he shares what he calls the "ABCs of useful tools." These are three thoughts to keep in mind as you work to develop something that can be effective in other contexts and cultures. I thought they were pretty good, and could be useful as I seek to discover spiritual formation exercises for us to practice as a church community (see this post). The ABCs are:
Access to God. We want to turn to God for answers and enlightenment rather than depend on human leaders. A good resource doesn't think for the disciple but challenges him or her to seek God and discover truth.

Bible is the authority and is not simply used to grant authority to the tool. The Bible speaks for itself without human filters. When curriculum is saturated with Scripture references to support its biblical posture, it is, in essence, using the Bible to grant authority to the curriculum. It is far better to let the Bible keep its authority to stand alone without our help. People who obey the Scriptures are far more potent than those who obey man's ideas, with Bible verses tacked on for support.

Compassion for others is the natural outcome when the Spirit, using real catalytic tools, causes life change. It is not necessary to force compassion through guilt, shame, and fear when it is a natural fruit of being Spirit-filled. Obedience is the result of a changed life, not the other way around. We do not change our life to be obedient; we are obedient because our life has been changed from the inside out. We love, because Jesus first loved us and gave his life as a ransom for us. If we are not moved to obedience because of love, the work is futile and will end in rubble (1 Cor. 13:1-3).

Good stuff: Access to God; Bible is the authority; and Compassion for others is the natural outcome. I like it.